Studio team

Vanessa Bellaar Spruijt

Watershed

Vanessa Bellaar Spruijt is the Network Producer for Creative Workforce for the Future, a programme aiming to support West of England companies with inclusion readiness so that they can embrace underrepresented talent.


Portrait of a woman with glasses looking up into the corner.

Photo: Jon Aitken (jonaitken.com)

Projects

Layered Realities

Watershed and the Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol explored the potential of 5G through a series of experimental events - asking artists, researchers and creatives to produce bold new works in public space.

Worked on

The Sky Remains

The Sky Remains is a groundbreaking alternate reality game (ARG) experience combining interactive narrative, social networking and GPS-based technology. Designed by studio residents Hazel Grian and Jon Williams of Licorice…

The Sensory Symptom

The Sensory Symptom is an interactive experience produced during an intensive two-week collaboration between the Punchdrunk theatre company and Hewlett-Packard Laboratories.

Vanessa is the Network Producer for Creative Workforce the Future (CWFTF), which is an inclusion readiness programme for small to medium sized creative companies in the West of England as well as a talent to industry development programme for 18 - 30 year olds currently underrepresented in the creative industries.

CWFTF is an exploratory new pilot programme funded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the European Social Fund (ESF) and led by the Bristol+Bath Creative R+D programme working with Rife at WatershedKnowle West Media CentreCreative Youth NetworkThe Guild co working spaceSpike Island and Bristol Museums.

Creative Workforce for the Future is developing industry employment practices embracing inclusion and diversity as an asset, and nurture young creative talent from under-represented groups to gain the experience required to sustain a creative career. A key aspect of the programme is supporting creative SMEs to develop a more inclusive workforce and practices in the region by undertaking an intensive programme of inclusive professional development.

Vanessa also taught on the 2018/2019 UWE Bristol and Watershed collaborative MA Creative Producing. 

Background

She is a founding member of the Pervasive Media Studio after moving from HP Lab's Pervasive Computing Lab. Her previous projects were typically complex collaborations between multiple partners ranging from artists, to technologists and across public sector and industry. 

She is in her third year of studying psychoanalyis and will return to this part-time when her son is a little older. 

Key themes

Creative producing, idea shaping, art direction, strategy for creative (not necessarily commercial) ventures, improvisation, bridging different work cultures, making things happen, inclusion journeys, steering artists in their vision, putting the right people together at the right time. 

Recent stuff

- Network Producer of Network for Creative Enterprise, a collaboration with The Guild (Coworking Bath)Knowle West Media CentreSpike Island and UWE Bristol to support creatives across the West of England to make a sustainable living from their ideas. Vanessa was the network producer across all four hubs and focused in resilience, value, language and self-awareness in the creative sector and how those sit across 'being an artist' and 'running a business'.

- Producer of the Layered Realities, 5G showcase in March 2018 which was the world's first public urban testbed exploring the potential of next generation wireless connectivity (5G) with a focus on creative experience. Read a summary and reflection it here

- Producer of Watershed's Virtual Reality Sessions, curated by Catherine Allen in June 2017

- Co-design of online youth-led platform Rife magazine born in 2014 and Youth Engagement Coordinator on programmes such as BFI Film Academy.

Other stuff:

Art installations / immersive theatre

 - Producer of Squidsoup's Submergence: a large-scale installation resembling an ocean of light. 6000 visitors experienced it during the 1 month installation in September 2013.

- Programme coordinator for 'Animating the Zone'  a series of artistic Bristol Temple Quarter commissions coordinated by WatershedKnowle West Media Centre and MAYK. Designed to pop up, excite and re-invent perceptions and potentials of the area.

- Producer of U-Soap (Rik Lander) Arts Council England funded production 'The Memory Dealer', which brings together a mobile app with theatre. Sell out show in Mayfest 2013. Won Royal Television Society award for best digital innovation. 

-  Project Manager for the 'Open Cities' project. The 'Open Cities' project was part of the 2012 capital of culture in Portugal. The project was led by Guimarães in partnership with Watershed and explored the concept of 'Openness' in relation to city development. Watershed curated a series of live and digital interventions, ranging from James Bridle's guerilla aerial balloon mapping to the theatre production Give me back my broken night. For more information about the entire programme see the Open City Project . 

- Concept creator and producer of large audio-visual installation at a National Trust property (Lacock Abbey) with studio resident Tom Bennett, live in July 2011.

- Producer & Casting Director for the successul sell-out ' 2.8 (hours) later' (headline game for igfest) May 2011.

- Experience Design & implementation with Helen Bentley for National Trust commission at the London Outdoor Show at the Excel exhibition centre in January 2011

- Casting Director & co-producer for the igfest '10 headline game '2.8 hours (later)'. Also costumes & prop design. September 2010

- Artistic commission for the National Trust, with Helen Bentley for Glastonbury Festival 2010. Creation, design and delivery of their Glastonbury festival experience. Read about it here.

- Delivery of mscapeFest, an annual 2 day conference for locative, mobile and pervasive media enthusiasts. (Tilburg, Nov '09). See report of the event.

- Project Manager for the Interesting Games Festival (igfest). A three day street game festival in Bristol. Also Casting Director for the game 'La Noche de los Muertos' (Sept '09).

 

 

Experimental technology / user trials

- Producer of the Layered Realities, 5G showcase in March 2018 which was the world's first public urban testbed exploring the potential of next generation wireless connectivity (5G) with a focus on creative experience. Read a summary and reflection it here

- Producer of Watershed's Virtual Reality Sessions, curated by Catherine Allen in June 2017

- (P/T) Project Manager on a collaborative TSB project: Unlocking Markets for Content Delivery at Calvium Ltd, with Bristol Old VicMshedWatershed and The Tower of London. 18 months project (Nov 2010 - June 2011)

- User Experience Co-ordinator on 'The Extended Theatre Experience': a collaboration with Watershed, HP Labs and the Bristol Old Vic. The Extended Theatre Experience was an experiment exploring how technology can extend and ultimately enhance a live performance experience, like theatre or a music concert. The Extended Theatre Experience was awarded a Media Innovation Award 2009 in the Live Category.

- Project co-ordinator on 'Last Will': a collaboration with Hide & Seek, HP Labs, Punchdrunk and Seeper. Last Will was the creation of a multiplayer hybrid virtual and real world environment. Watch the trailer here.    

 

Community action         

- Mapping & advising arts organisations in Bristol that benefit from discretionary rates relief (voluntary).   

- Advising various projects from ArtSpaceLifeSpace on communications strategies (voluntary)                                                          


Links